Day02: Harburg to Stiepelse, Germany.: An easy, but chilly, day on/near the Elbe
I left my friends flat in Harburg just before 9 AM this morning. I rode through Harburg to the area where there are two big bicycle shops. There is a big expensive store and big cheap store. Both of them are much larger than any bicycle store I've seen in the US. I wanted to buy a tail light - I left the one I meant to bring along with several other important items in the same plastic bag - and some replacment brake shoes for my front bake. That brake is a good - $40 - shimano canti whose pads seem to have worn prematurely and aged badly. My front braking is not good. My rear brake, which uses Koolstop pads on cheap cantis, will actually stop the bike as fast as the front brake will. I went to both stores,but at 9:30 AM on Monday niether store was open. Since I couldn't find when, or if, they would open on Monday, I rode on out of town to the west and then went north to ride along the Elb. I'd ridden in from that direction, so I knew where I was going.
Elbe near Hamburg
Getting on Elbe Radweg
When I got to the Elbe, I rode on roads, e.g. Elbdeich Strasse which is the road along the dike on the south side of the Elbe, rather than the Elbe Radweg. I wanted to be on the roads since I needed to stop for snacks and lunch. I road from Harburg to Artlenburg, stopping a small grocery story for snack supplies - small breads and bananas - and Avendorf for a good lunch. Before lunch, the riding was chilly and boring, After lunch, my mood was much improved and the riding got much better. I also got internet access at lunch which enabke me to get up the first web page for this tour and email the ride report. I almost got that done in Harburg, but fate, and some window renewal craftsmen, killed my friends wireless just before I hit the 'finish' button at crazyguy. I think I have wireless tonight, but I have to go down two flights of stairs to try it, so it can wait.
At Hohnsdorf, I crossed the Elbe using the first bridge upstream from Hamburg. I could have used a ferry earlier, but then I would have missed that real nice meal at the restaurant in Avendorf. It was a 'menu' for 6.8 Euro that was very popular - I think everybody at the resaurant was eating it - and very good.
Bridge over Elbe
On island in Elbe
Crossing the Elbe from Hohnsdorf - dorf means village - to Lauenberg (Elbe) which is a medium sized town, involves two bridges and a large island in the Elbe. I'd done it before in the other direction and had a hard time - that include a short stetch of Autobahn - very illegal! - and way to much high traffic riding. This time I did it right and managed to avoid all those problem by using radwegs. You can see the Elbe radweg under you as you near the north end of the bridge into Lauenberg and getting to it pretty straight forward. That radweg section ends after a few, very nice km. Then there is a radweg which takes you north to B5. B5 is not a place you want to ride - been there, done that, it was NOT fun or safe. Just before the second radweg reaches B5, there is a rdweg that runs along the south side of B5. It good riding and it goes a long way, mostly along a Nature Park which loooked like it had a lot of good opportunities for (illegal) stealth camping. It also had a moderatly steep, long hill. That was the only real hill of todays ride.
Radweg on B195
The first hill!
The little road was one lane, smoothly paved until a side road went off through Schleusenow. The side road had good pavement but the road I had been riding became very rough. I looked at a picture I had taken of the map where I had stopped and decided to take the side road. It looked, from the map, like I could get down to the Elbe that way as well. That worked out, although not quite as I had expected. There were very pretty houses along both roads and a lot of sheep, and later cattle, in the pastures.
The side road ended at a T into another road and I took that south until it T'd into yet another small road running roughly along the Elb. This time there were signs for services. I decided to go left and check out places to stealth camp and places to eat or buy food in the small town of Stiepelse. I struck out on stealth camping sites- this area is intensively used for agriculture and there are no real woods - and I wasn't too impress with the places to eat, but I did find the Elbe Radweg going right along the Elbe. I would not have found it if I hadn't gone into Stiepelse and if I hadn't seen a bicyclist on the radweg just as I was about to leave Stiepelse.
Shortly after I headed down that part of the Elbe Radweg, I saw a place advertizing inexpensive rooms. I rode on, but turned back when it started to rain a bit and took one of those rooms for 27 Euro with breakfast. It is really a VERY nice place whose primary customers are bicyclist riding the Elbe Radweg. My room is on the second - third in the USA - floor, under the roof of the building. It is good to sit here listening to and watching the rain hit the (German style openable skylight) windows. I'm quite happy not to be in my wet tent in the (non existent) woods tonight.
View from my window
View of Elbe near my room
I made supper with a broechen - small bread - spread with Nutella and peanut butter and a banana. Later, I had two packets of instant oatmeal flavored with Nutella. There is a nicely equipped kitchen and eating area on my floor, along with a very nice living area, I would have done the same eating in my tent, but it was much easier to do it here.